Cape has second virus death as testing and food plans gear up

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Cape has second virus death as testing and food plans gear up

The province is the hardest hit in SA relative to the size of its population

Tamar Kahn
Western Cape premier Alan Winde.
TESTING TIMES Western Cape premier Alan Winde.
Image: Hetty Zantman

The Western Cape has recorded its second death from Covid-19, an 82-year old woman, as its tally of confirmed cases rose to 475 on Monday.

The province has the second-highest caseload, after Gauteng, but is the hardest hit relative to the size of its population, according to analysis by Media Hack, a group of independent data journalists.

A total of 26 patients are in hospital in the Western Cape, of whom 12 are in intensive care, premier Alan Winde said in a statement.

The provincial health department began community screening and testing at the weekend, sending health workers door to door to check people for signs of the disease. Close to 1,500 people were screened for the potentially deadly respiratory illness over the past two days, and 45 people had been tested, said Winde. Results are expected within 48 hours.

The community testing programme began in Cape Town’s Happy Valley and Ilitha Park, and is due to expand into Town2, Bo-Kaap, Bishop Lavis and Philippi during the course of this week. Testing is also planned for Kwanonqaba in Mossel Bay and Mbekweni in the Cape winelands.

Winde said the department of social development had begun providing 50,000 food parcels to eligible households. The relief is intended for families directly affected by Covid-19, who are in isolation or cannot support themselves during the lockdown. Food parcels will also be provided to people who have applied for social grants, but have not yet been approved as beneficiaries, as well as households that have not been directly affected by Covid-19 but cannot sustain themselves during the lockdown, he said.

The three-week national lockdown, which began 10 days ago, has shuttered schools and most businesses, and confined all but essential workers to their homes, jeopardising the income of millions of South Africans.